Using acupuncture and herbal remedies is not as far fetched as you may believe in relief of allergies. While spring and summer are the seasons of the year that bring us outdoors, many people are unable to enjoy these warmer months due to uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Traditional Chinese Medicine can help bring relief of symptoms, correct imbalances of the immune system, prevent the occurrence of infection, and allow healing of tissues of the sinuses.
What are allergies?
In allopathic or western medicine allergies are defined as a hyperactive immune response and treated with drugs to suppress the immune system. This suppression is in an effort to reduce the annoying symptoms of allergic response such as nasal congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose just to list a few. This treatment only focuses on the symptoms never addressing the root cause of the problem. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions and the cost of allergies in the United States is more than $10 billion dollars yearly.
Acupuncture and Allergies
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal remedies can effectively treat allergies. Relieving the pain and symptoms associated with sinusitis as a result of allergies is not as difficult a task as one may think. Chinese Medical Theory embraces a concept of a defensive energy or Qi called “wei qi”. Wei qi is dispersed throughout the body just under the skin layer by the Lungs. The lungs in Traditional Chinese Theory control all aspects related to allergies. The function of the wei qi is to protect the body from pathogenic factors such as bacteria, virus or parasites. In relation to allergies Traditional Chinese Medicine also embraces the concept of “wind” as a pathogen. This external wind can become trapped in the body and is one of the causes of allergies. If the wei qi is deficient (not enough of or of a poor quality) and allows the body to be susceptible, then allergies may develop. The wei qi can prevent the “wind”, which causes allergic symptoms, from entering the body. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine create balance and allow the immune system to renew and strengthen. This enables the body to fight its own battle and win rather than just ignore the war and disguise the wounds so they do not show.
Treatment of Allergies with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Relieving the pain and symptoms associated with sinusitis as a result of allergies is not as difficult a task as may think. Small hair thin sterile needles are placed in and around the sinuses on the face. This stimulation can at times be a flood gate for nasal mucous to drain and congestion to be dissipated. Other body points to increase the Wei qi (defensive qi) and Lung energy will also be used during the treatment. There should be minimal to no pain during the treatment and pressure should be relieved almost immediately. Several treatments may be needed to resolve the current symptoms completely and then to prevent the allergies from returning.
There are many aspects to address when treating allergies with TCM. Firstly, lifestyle plays a dramatic role in either developing a strong immune system or maintaining a weakened, depleted one. Adequate rest is necessary to create effective immunity. Moderate exercise is also recommended. Lack of physical activity, excessive sexual activity or overwork in general will lead to an impaired immune system. Secondly, nutrition is key in developing and maintaining a healthy immune system. Whole foods and simpler food combinations help to strengthen immunity. Avoiding alcohol, sugar, refined or processed food will assist in maintaining immunity. Eating late at night disturbs the balance of the immune system. TCM theory suggests that night time is when the wei qi replenishes itself. If the body has to concentrate on digestion, the wei qi does not receive adequate recharging and will not be able to protect the body the next day.
Lastly , the environment is an important aspect of staying healthy and allergy free. Good feng shui and an clean orderly working and living environment should be maintained. Sunlight, clean fresh air and pure water improve immunity. Avoid exposure to dampness or wind, and protect against other extremes in climate.
In my experience allergies acan be effectively resolved and prevented with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional methods of treatment create imbalance in the body and make it more difficult to find resolution of these issues. Following these simple strategies in conjunction with treatment will ensure your success in living without the stress of environmental allergies. Seek out qualified, licensed and board certified acupuncture physicians to provide these therapies to you.